Head to Golden for Buffalo Bill Days, Golden’s annual salute to William F. Cody, July 26 – 29, 2018. There is western fun all weekend long, including the Best of the West Parade, spectacular Western entertainment at Cody’s Wild West, Muttin Bustin’, a Pancake Breakfast, Car Show, arts and crafts, live music, kids’ games and more. Full list of events here.
So who was Buffalo Bill? Simply, he was the world’s first superstar. In his youth, he was the real deal – an army scout, Pony Express rider, buffalo hunter and pioneer. Then later in his life, from 1883 to 1913, he set out to re-create the romance and thrill of the rapidly changing Old West by staging the world’s first show business tour – a circus-like event that was called “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.” There has never been anything else quite like it.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West performed in more than 1,000 cities in a dozen nations with a cast of 640 cowboys, Indians, vaqueros and rough riders. It took a special train of 52 box cars to move his show, which included the third-largest buffalo herd on Earth. As a comparison, Beyonce’s recent world tour (considered by many to be the largest modern tour) had just 20 backup dancers and was staged in only 41 cities.
Kings, queens and presidents attended Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows and it’s estimated that more than 25 million words were written about the famous scout during his lifetime, making his silver goatee, buckskin jacket and wide Stetson hat more recognizable and famous than anyone in the world at the time.
He died in 1917, while visiting his sister in Denver and was buried on Lookout Mountain, where he has long enjoyed the remarkable view from the top. Legend has it that while alive, he often commented that he could see all the way to Kansas from this Golden vantage point.
If you enjoy Buffalo Bill Days, be sure to visit the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave. Located on top of Lookout Mountain, just a short walk from his gravesite, the museum has many of his costumes, guns, hats and posters from the show, as well other artifacts from the many people who appeared in his shows, including his close friend, gunfighter Wild Bill Hickock, and Chief Sitting Bull, who wiped out Custer at the Little Big Horn. Kids (and adults) can try on Western outfits for Facebook photos, and the view from the museum is perhaps the best in all of Denver, taking in both snowcapped mountains and the Great Plains.